Pune landslide: 3-month-old survivor has no home to go to

Rudra, whose wails led rescuers to him and his family, waits at a hospital until the state can give him a new home

Pune: Scores of people marvelled at how a wailing three-month-old baby helped rescuers to locate him and his family members in a mountain of debris after a landslide flattened Malin on Wednesday. But six days after disaster first struck the village, the ordeal is far from over for the baby, Rudra Lembhe and his family, who are still waiting helplessly until they can go home.

The Lembhe family’s home was amongst the 48 that were destroyed by the landslide. And with no rehabilitation plans in the offing yet, the family has no choice but to stay at the sub-district hospital at Manchar.

 “The state government should give us back our home in Malin or a house somewhere else. We can’t stay on at the hospital, nor can I afford a rented flat in Pune city due to economic constraints,” said Macchindra, Rudra’s father.

 “We have lost our shelter, money and cattle. Rudra is our only baby, and by God’s mercy, he and his mother were rescued by the NDRF personnel within hours on the very day the landslide occurred,” added Macchindra, who had been away in Pune, where he is a supervisor at a showroom.

On Wednesday evening, when he was informed about the landslide, Macchindra rushed back to Malin, but his family had already been moved to a nearby village for treatment. The heavy rainfall made it impossible for him to cross the stream running between the two villages, and Macchindra had to wait an entire day before he could see his family. The Lembhes are the only family to have survived the disaster intact.

Manohar, Rudra’s grandfather, was the one who had heard the baby’s wails and directed the NDRF team towards the mother-son duo trapped in the debris. “When I saw the mud crash on our house, I thought I had lost Rudra. But then I heard him crying and immediately asked the authorities to rescue him,” he told mid-day.

While the Lembhes are growing impatient staying at the hospital, at least 50 victims are still said to be trapped in the debris. The administration’s priority lies in completing the rescue operation first. Local MLA Dilip Walse-Patil confirmed that the rehabilitation plan will be finalised once the relief operations end.

Meanwhile, hospitals have been instructed to house the survivors and their families until other arrangements are made. Dr Seema Deshmukh, medical superintendent of the sub-district hospital at Manchar said, “We have been instructed to inform the concerned authorities before discharging patients. In the given situation, administrative planning for rehabilitation of the survivors is necessary.

“Till then we have made arrangements for the families to stay in a separate ward in the hospital where they are under medical observation,” she added.

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